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Students are able to join the Custom-Designed Major (CSDN) at different points in time. Current Drexel students, transfer students, and incoming, first-year students each have a unique application process. While each process is unique depending on the population, applicants to CSDN receive support from CSDN staff as they think through what they hope to accomplish through an individualized major and how they can reach those goals.

Current Students

Current Drexel students may be admitted internally to CSDN as a change of major. However, current students may apply no later than Week One of the summer term preceding their junior year. Current students must be enrolled in the Custom-Designed major for at least 5 academic terms prior to graduation.

CSDN staff provide feedback on drafts of application materials with a final review conducted by experts from each discipline the applicant intends to incorporate in their individualized plan of study. To see a few examples of the kinds of interdisciplinary research CSDN students have pursued as well as their application materials, please visit Sample CSDN Student Majors.

All applicants are required to complete the following:

  1. Introductory Meeting
    Current Drexel students interested in applying to CSDN must meet with CSDN staff to discuss their academic goals, learn more about the CSDN major requirements, and review the application process and timeline.

  2. Vision Statement
    In this 4-5 page essay applicants explain what it is they want to do, how they intend to accomplish that at Drexel, and defend their pursuit of an interdisciplinary education via CSDN.

  3. Plan of Study
    A proposed plan-of-study that details, term by term, a plausible curriculum for achieving the goals outlined in the applicant's Vision Statement. Please review the CSDN curriculum page for information about required courses.

  4. Recommendation
    Applicants must secure a recommendation from Drexel faculty or staff. Strong recommendations speak to the applicant’s ability to embark on an unconventional individualized course of study.

If you are considering changing your major to Custom-Designed, the first step is to set up a meeting with CSDN staff. In this meeting, students share their academic and career interests and ask questions about CSDN. CSDN staff answer questions and provide additional information about the application process and materials. The required plan-of-study template will be shared after this meeting. If you're interested in setting up this initial meeting, contact Associate Director Dr. Katie Barak.

Incoming Drexel Students

The Custom-Designed major (CSDN) has partnered with First-Year Exploratory Studies (FYES) to support incoming, first year Drexel students interested in creating their own interdisciplinary academic plan. FYES provides students with the opportunity to explore Drexel’s academic options and interests before selecting a major. For students who are looking to combine several disciplines into an individualized major, FYES is where Drexel students begin exploring. Students who enroll in FYES complete a one-year, full-time plan of study in their first year and then transfer to a full-time major at Drexel at the end of that year. For the students entering FYES with CSDN already in mind as their major, part of their time in FYES will be spent formulating their formal application to CSDN.

Are you ready to apply to First-Year Exploratory Studies to begin investigating your interdisciplinary interests? Follow these steps to get the process started:

First-year applicants interested in learning more about CSDN and FYES should reach out to their Admissions counselor or send an email to enroll@drexel.edu.

To get a better sense of the kinds of interdisciplinary research students have pursued in CSDN, please visit Sample CSDN Student Majors and the CSDN alumni list.

FYES offers a Living Learning Community where first-year students have the opportunity to live with a group of like-minded students. It is an incredible way to get involved during your first year. Along with starting to build your network and the academic benefits of having study groups with your neighbors, the FYES Living Learning Community is also a great way to start exploring the city of Philadelphia.

For more information, visit the FYES Living Learning Community webpage. In addition, applicants can also visit the Office of University Housing website and follow the step-by-step guide for instructions on how to successfully apply for University Housing and select a learning community. If you have any questions, please contact housing@drexel.edu.

Transfer Students

If you are considering transferring to Drexel University and pursuing the Custom-Designed Major, talk to your Admissions representative or reach out to enroll@drexel.edu. Bear in mind, transfer students accepted to the Custom-Designed major must be enrolled for at least 5 academic terms prior to their expected graduation. Transfer students indicate their interest in the Custom-Designed major on the Drexel Common App or Drexel University Admissions Application, but will also need to complete the following:

  1. Introductory Meeting
    Transfer students interested in applying to CSDN must meet with CSDN staff to discuss their academic goals, learn more about the CSDN major requirements, and review the application process and timeline.

  2. Vision Statement
    In this 4-5 page essay applicants explain what it is they want to do, how they intend to accomplish that at Drexel, and defend their pursuit of an interdisciplinary education via CSDN.

  3. Plan of Study
    A proposed plan-of-study that details, term by term, a plausible curriculum for achieving the goals outlined in the applicant's Vision Statement. Please review the CSDN curriculum page for information about required courses.

  4. Recommendation
    Applicants must secure a recommendation from a past professor, mentor, or employer who can speak to the applicant’s ability to embark on an unconventional individualized course of study.

If you are a transfer student considering the Custom-Designed major, the first step is an introductory meeting with CSDN staff. In this meeting, students share their academic and career interests and ask questions about CSDN. CSDN staff answer questions and provide additional information about the application process and materials. The required plan-of-study template will be shared after this meeting. Your Admissions rep will connect you with CSDN staff to set up an introductory meeting.

CSDN staff provide feedback on drafts of application materials with a final review conducted by experts from each discipline the applicant intends to incorporate in their individualized plan of study. To see a few examples of the kinds of interdisciplinary research CSDN students have pursued as well as their application materials, please visit Sample CSDN Student Majors.

For more information about transferring to Drexel University, please contact an Admissions representative at enroll@drexel.edu.

Hello incoming dragons!

I’m here to give you some advice regarding the formation of your Custom-Designed Major! If you want to create an interdisciplinary major that draws courses from several schools/subject areas, then this program is perfect for you. First, you need a general idea of what your major will be and the career or outcome that you're looking to obtain from your major. Look at the Drexel University course catalog and see which classes fit your concentration areas. Having a basic understanding of what classes fit with your passions will be helpful for when you start to make your plan-of-study as well as writing your Vision Statement explaining your major. Once your first draft of application materials is done, you will have plenty of help from the CSDN staff, so feel free to ask them about any questions you have! Their feedback helps you revise your drafts.

The most difficult part of the formation of the major for me was fitting all the pieces together in the plan-of-study. Some classes are only offered in a specific quarter, so you need to take time to move the pieces around until your classes fit during the terms they actually run. And bear in mind, you can always make adjustments to the plan, so if you’re still debating about a few classes, that’s totally normal. Don’t stress, you can always ask for help throughout this stage of the process from the CSDN staff!

Once your Vision Statement and plan-of-study are through the CSDN staff review, departments from each of your concentration areas review. These experts provide even more feedback about classes you should consider or opportunities that might be coming in the future. After a final round of revisions, your, you’re all good to go as an official CSDN student!

Good luck with the creation of your major! —Rebecca Graubert, custom-designed major